Now that 3-D movies are back in a big Hollywood-can't-figure-out-what-else-to-do-to-get-us-in-seats way, it was only a matter of time before another wacky gimmick from the mid-20th century returned to tempt consumers. You might not remember Smell-O-Vision, but the folks who run the marketing show for Dunkin' Donuts abroad sure do! And they've employed the "technology" to get South Korean customers to buy more of their coffee.
The new incarnation is called "Flavor Radio," and it has been installed on buses. Basically, whenever the DD radio jingle is played, the "Flavor Radio" permeates the bus with the scent of DD coffee. The upper mucky-mucks at Dunkin' say they wanted to "raise awareness of Dunkin' Donuts coffee in a fun and engaging way." Well, it certainly is engaging!
Don't get me wrong ... I am a coffee FANATIC. I adore the scent of just about any coffee (sans Folgers). If I took one of these buses on my way to work, I would be elated to find the scent was being pumped in, because it might serve to rouse me from the walking dead-type coma I'm in 'til I've had my first cup of joe!
At the same time, not everyone is keen on coffee ... or chocolate ... Buffalo wings or any other type of food that might try to adopt this type of "technology." And the idea that "Flavor Radio" might be employed in different spaces, with other, less appealing scents of various foods? Kiiiinda freaks me out. There is no need for a beef jerky company to advertise with it on the subway. Or for onion farmers to tout their crops in movie theaters. Limburger cheese promoted while you're in line at the grocery store? Ick, can you imagine!? Nasty! No one wants their senses assaulted like that.
All in all, "engaging" consumers with scent is probably a disaster waiting to happen. Fingers crossed this is a passing fad that stays put in South Korea!
How would you feel about food companies using "technology" like this to promote their products?
Image via Timothy Boyd/Flickr